Young Environmental Activist | Jackson Hinkle, Team Zissou, Future Council Member?

July 20, 2018


Jackson Hinkle is an 18 year old environmental activist and politician who recently graduated from San Clemente High School in California. While many teens are still finding direction, Jackson was getting early recognition for the work he’s doing in the community. Not long ago, he was recognized as one of Teen Vogue’s “8 Young Environmentalists Who Are Working to Save the Earth.”


Before he was an environmental activist, however, he was a surfer (still is) just going about his business like the rest of us. Many of us have “flashpoint” moments as I like to call them and in the 7th grade, Jackson had his. He went on a surf trip to the pacific side of Panama where he witnessed an immense amount of plastic pollution. This pollution was found everywhere, even at remote locations. Frustrated and saddened, when Jackson returned home he investigated the situation a bit more and found out that he himself, as an American consumer, was a contributing factor to this pollution. It was at that moment that he felt it was his duty to help others change the way they are living their lives and to help stop this from happening in the future.


Taking action…


While in high school, Jackson started an environmental club called “Team Zissou,” inspired by, yes Bill Murray and the cast from The Life Aquatic. Jackson wanted to provide an outlet for students that was engaging and fun (yep, they wear red beanies) and to his surprise, more than 300 students showed up to their first meeting!  The club’s intention was to educate people across the nation to make changes in your own atmospheres of business, education, or politics, but their main focus was to ultimately make a positive impact in the world.


Friends in good places…

Hinkle is also an Earth Guardian; part of a national council, led by Xiuhtezcatl ("Shuh-tez-cot") Martinez, of young environmentalists who are trying to create change; in fact, they’re suing the government for failing to take action on climate change. Jackson has also worked with Jaden Smith on a campaign to replace plastic water bottles with Just Water - water packaged in a non-plastic water bottle that contains 82% plant-derived material -  in over 60 schools; starting with his own.


How to take it one step further?


This year, Hinkle started a coalition called Orange County Students for City Council. Jackson will be mobilizing, recruiting, and supporting young students to run for city council positions. This November, Jackson Hinkle is running for City Council in San Clemente with a fellow friend from San Clemente High School, Jake Rybczyk. His campaign promises include transitioning San Clemente into a sustainable future, safe storage of nuclear waste at San Onofre, and transiting his city to 100% renewable energy.  


Jackson’s ultimate goal?


Yep, Jackson Hinkle plans to be the president of the United States.


Our conversation ranges from influencing young people to take action, to mobilizing an eco campaign, to the importance of civil action, to what brands should be paying attention when it comes to Gen Z and how to stay well informed.


Topics we covered:


- Xiuhtezcatl Martinez (Earth Guardians)

- Just Water -

- Orange County Students for City Council

- Jackon Hinkle -

- Infinitely Recyclable Plastic? -

- Vice News -

-Teen Vogue -

- Democracy Now -

- Vox

- The Ecology Center

- Josh Fox’s “Gas Land”

- Josh Fox’s “How to Let Go of the World”-

- “Before the Flood”





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©2017 Derek A. Sabori, The Underswell.